Hundreds of healthcare workers in Indonesia have tested positive for Covid-19, despite being vaccinated, with dozens hospitalised. According to a Reuters report, over 350 medical staff, all of whom have received the Sinovac vaccine, have been confirmed as infected. Most are asymptomatic, but dozens have been hospitalised with high fever and low oxygen levels.
The infected healthcare workers are in the Kudus district of central Java and the asymptomatic among them are self-isolating at home. Kudus is currently in the grip of an outbreak of the highly-contagious Delta variant, formerly known as the Indian variant, with hospital bed occupancy now over 90%.
Healthcare workers were some of the first to be inoculated with Sinovac when Indonesia’s vaccine rollout kicked off in January. Dicky Budiman, an epidemiologist at Australia’s Griffith University, says the fact that hundreds are now infected has added to concerns over new variants and the efficacy of some vaccines against them.
“The data shows they have the Delta variant (in Kudus) so it is no surprise that the breakthrough infection is higher than before, because, as we know, the majority of healthcare workers in Indonesia got Sinovac, and we still don’t know yet how effective it is in the real world against the Delta variant.”
The World Health Organisation recently approved Sinovac for emergency use after tests showed it prevented symptomatic illness in 51% of those who received it, while preventing severe illness and hospitalisation in 100% of those vaccinated.
The pandemic has taken a heavy toll on Indonesia, with the country recording over 1.9 million cases and over 53,000 deaths. 946 healthcare workers have died. According to data group LaporCOVID-19, at least 5 doctors and 1 nurse have died from the virus, despite being vaccinated.
In the capital, Jakarta, Dr Prijo Sidipratomo says he knows of at least 6 vaccinated doctors who’ve been hospitalised with the virus in the past month, with 1 of them in intensive care.
“It is alarming for us because we cannot rely on vaccinations only.”
According to Reuters, there was nobody from Sinovac available to comment at the time of the report.
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